Travel Report: Shu Yuan National Park – Yongjia County, China.
November 2017. With winter finally starting to hit the southeast of China, I instinctively felt my annual hibernation period calling me after a busy few months of travel. Resolving to squeeze in one final trip before scuttling off to my man cave, I headed off to Yongjia County, a rural region in Zhejiang Province just fifteen kilometers north of the monster city Wenzhou. My first stop was the absolutely beautiful Shu Yuan National Park, named after a famous Song Dynasty school.
November 2017. Shu Yuan National Park is a huge complex of nature trails, streams, ponds, woodland and caves. With limited time, I decided to embark on a two-hour loop hike that takes in its most popular spots. The first thing that delighted me was how quiet it was that day and what a surprise too, this is China after all. In fact, these posing ladies were the only people I met in my first half an hour.
November 2017. With its connection to one of southern China’s most historical schools, Shu Yuan National Park is also home to a Museum of Literature, which stands in tribute to a number of China’s most notable writers and poets.
November 2017. There’s no English whatsoever in the museum, so I was unable to get a full grasp of what I was looking at. But still the vibe is great, especially in this library which holds some of the country’s greatest works.
November 2017. This huge waterfall is arguably Shu Yuan National Park’s greatest draw and I wasn’t disappointed when I arrived. The scale is really something, not to mention the all-encompassing sound of the flowing water which can be heard long before you reach it. As impressive as the waterfall is, make sure to turn around and look back at the way you came. Not too shabby either!
November 2017. For the second hour of my hike through Shu Yuan National Park things start getting tougher, as I had to tackle this absolute beast of a staircase. The network of orange railings that runs all the way up is pretty ugly, but my bet is you’ll reach out and grab onto them at least two to three times as you haul yourself up. A real workout!
November 2017. At the top of the staircase I was surprised to find that the next section of the hike takes you through a series of tunnels. Pretty cool, especially with the coloured lighting that guides you through.
November 2017. It’s also worth mentioning that Shu Yuan National park is exceptionally well maintained. The place really is spotless throughout, thanks to a dedicated team of groundsmen and women who work around the clock trimming hedges, raking leaves and picking up litter. This lady is the custodian of the toilets on the park’s highest walking trail. Anyone who’s travelled around China knows only too well just how horrific public toilets can be, so the sparkling men’s loo that I went into that afternoon was nothing short of a revelation! Look at her pose, she knows she kicks ass!
November 2017. The views at the top of Shu Yuan National Park are just lovely, I especially like the little Lego town visible near the entrance of the park, which provides a great sense of scale. From here it’s a brisk twenty five minute walk back down to the car park. Another day of China travel, another gorgeous national park!
For more on my wanderings around Yongjia County, take a look at my piece on Ling Shang Restaurant Village.
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